Aston Villa fans will have to wait until after their next Premier League game at home to Bolton before they will witness new manager Gerard Houllier take control of the club.
Houllier was announced as the full-time successor to Martin O’Neill last week, but was not present at the 2-1 defeat at Stoke as he was fulfilling commitments back in France.
He has now reached an agreement to leave his post at technical director with the French Football Federation (FFF), where he could have had to serve a three-month notice period, but will not be in a position to take over managerial duties against Bolton.
Therefore, he will watch from the stands as caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald will once again pick the Villa team, as he has done since O’Neill left just days before the start of the season.
Villa are 4/5 to maintain their 100 per cent winning start to the Premier League season at home and beat Bolton and will want to build on the fact that they have scored 13 times at Villa Park against Bolton in their last three meetings.
The game finished 5-1 in Villa’s favour last season and a repeat is 66/1.
Houllier will then take to the dugout for the first time for Villa’s first appearance in the Carling Cup this season, which is a home game against Blackburn in the third round of the competition.
However, Villa fans can expect a winning start to Houllier’s tenure as manager, as he is unbeaten in his last seven games against them.
Meanwhile, he also beat them in all three games in his final season as Liverpool manager in 2004, including a 4-3 victory over Blackburn in the third round of the Carling Cup, with Emile Heskey scoring twice.
Aston Villa are 250/1 to win the Premier League this season. See the whole Premier League winners market.